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Television, without pity

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, September 28, 2006

At the beginning of the evening, I was going to write a serious Inside Column. Serious commentary about a serious subject. Something about being disturbed by the Career Fair being completely dominated by hardcore businessmen, and the Post-Graduate Service Fair frighteningly overrun with missionaries. It even had a nifty title: “Fair is fair?”

But now it’s rounding on 1 a.m., I still have to finish helping put today’s news section together and I know better than to try write scathing social commentary when I can’t think straight. So, though I promised myself I would never publish mindless drivel under my name, I don’t have much of a choice anymore.

Televisionwithoutpity.com. For anyone that loves your TV with a hefty serving of unbridled sarcasm, this is your Web site. Staffed by a slew of “freelance recappers,” each with their own special ability to turn a phrase, its motto is, “Spare the snark, spoil the networks.”

The most popular shows on television are recapped weekly, and then archived for future perusing pleasure. It’s really a beautiful way to procrastinate – even an episode you’ve already seen seems new under the sardonic stares of TWOP’s staff.

I use it to follow the shows I love but can’t get at Notre Dame – mainly, “Project Runway,” which I’m too cheap to pay $1.99 for on iTunes – and the shows I just plain love, like “Grey’s Anatomy” and the newly-added “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” Who doesn’t love Aaron Sorkin?

Below, I’ve included just a sample of the type of recappage you get on TWOP. If I had world enough and time, I could compile an entire page’s worth of cheeky quips, but this will have to do. It’s not only one of my favorite moments on last season’s “Grey’s” (of the many) but also includes just a taste of recapper insight. You might need to be familiar with the show to get the humor in it, but I have a feeling that quite a few of you already are.

Courtesy of AB Chao of TWOP:

“Fool and the Gang visit Bailey with their big prom problem, but don’t quite know how to address it. She tells them to spit it out, so Alex says the problem is with the colors, and the balloons.

‘Under the Sea! No, it’s Titanic! Hey, let’s go with Tears in Heaven; no, too morbid!’

George says they’re very, very hopeful that Bailey speaks Teenage Girl. Bailey does not let them down, as if there were any doubt, and her rapid-fire response is too excellent not to transcribe verbatim:

‘Silver and white. It’s mystical and magical without being over the top. Ever see Fashion Week in New York? Lots of silver and white runways and backdrops, that’s because no matter what color the clothes are, they pop.’

‘They pop?’ echoes Promlet One.

‘They POP,’ quoth Bailey.

I am so in love I would switch sides right now.”